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Re: laptop audio

You touched on a couple of things that I've noticed, as I also work
mostly on Toshiba (followed by Dell, Gateway and Lenovo).

Actually, I had more problems with AC adapter sockets on motherboards
themselves back in the old ("Toshiba built") days.  That is the one --
the ONLY -- area where I think things got better (almost all later
Toshibas mount the DC input jack on the case rather than the motherboard
and have a short cable to the motherboard).  The sockets still fail,
which is a user error (mechanical stress), but now you can replace the
socket without having to replace the motherboard (or remove and replace
a component soldered to the motherboard).

However, I've seen a HUGE number of motherboard failures in Toshiba
units that I didn't used to see.  Apparently (because I don't do this
work myself, but I talk to the people I send motherboards out to) the
motherboards themselves are now so thin and flexible that the BGA
soldering of the chipsets to the motherboard fails.  And I see a LOT
more problems with Toshiba units in this regard than with some other
brands (the A105 and A135 were particularly bad ... a huge number of
motherboard failures).

Another big issue -- and one that is pushing me away from Toshiba,
frankly -- is problems caused by overheating.  The same guys who replace
BGA chipsets on motherboards tell me that occasionally they can just
"reflow" the chipset and it fixes the BGA connections.  BUT, too often,
the chipset itself is fried by overheating.  The chipsets have heatsinks
also, in most modern laptops.  But when the cooling system fails (e.g.
the fan and heatsink become clogged with dirt, dust and hair), the CPUs
handle it relatively gracefully (they "throttle" themselves and prevent
their own destruction) but the chipsets don't handle it so well and are
often destroyed.  Not a huge difference between Toshiba and other brands
in that regard, EXCEPT .... Dell and Lenovo and even Gateway provide a
door (removeable panel) on the bottom of the laptop explicitly for
cleaning the CPU cooling system (heatsink and fan).  Toshiba used to do
that in some older models (the A40's, for example), but in the newer
units (again, starting, it seems, with the A100/105 series) they don't.
disassembly of the unit (remove the motherboard from the case, because
the CPU is now on the bottom of the motherboard in most units).  Of
course, this never happens, and we have, again, a huge number of
motherboard failures.  [When I do disassemble a unit, it's not unusual
to find a couple of CUBIC INCHES of "hairball", often so bad that the
fan blades no longer are even capable of turning.]

What's sad is that this stuff is just plain dumb.  There is no reason
for it, it doesn't really save anything, but "that's the way they are".

For no apparent reason.

me/2 wrote:

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Re: laptop audio

On Mon, 02 Nov 2009 19:54:40 -0500, Barry Watzman


:>What's sad is that this stuff is just plain dumb.  There is no reason
:>for it, it doesn't really save anything, but "that's the way they are".
:>For no apparent reason.

Not to sound cynical but to me there is a very apparent reason. Built
that way they will, in most cases, work fine until the end of the
usual 1 year warranty period. Once it's no longer the manufacturer's
problem they would just as soon you buy a new unit than pay to have
one repaired. For example, that's why in quite a few cases the cost to
have a display or system board replaced is greater than the original
cost of the notebook. One thing I did notice in my 10+ years of
working exclusively on Toshiba is that the "business class" notebooks
that typically came with a 3 year warranty tended to have much fewer
hardware issues than the "consumer class" notebooks that typically
came with a 1 year warranty. Also the business class systems were the
last to get turned over to the ODMs at which time the standard
warranty dropped to 1 year on quite a few of them.

BTW, I'm still using a 7 year old Toshiba 5205 that still works as
good as new except for 1 speaker failing. It has a 2.4ghz mobile P4,
1gb RAM and a 1600x1200 WXGA display. Other than having to use the
standard vga driver it runs the windows 7 rc about as good as it ran
the original windows xp pro. There is no windows 7 support for some of
the proprietary stuff like the SD card slot, the bluetooth module, the
select bay card reader or the select bay tv tuner so eventually the
factory software will be going back on.


Re: laptop audio

me/2 wrote on Tue, 03 Nov 2009 18:22:39 -0700:
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I have been purchasing laptops since '84. And all except one are doing
just fine (except for the original batteries). So while I believe there
are some makes and models which doesn't last, there are many makes and
models that just keeps on going and shows no signs of ever dying.

It isn't the after warranty failure that seems to get me. But rather it
is the advancing technology which makes them obsolete to me. So I
continue to purchase newer and newer models. I usually get 3 to 6 years
out of a machine before I replace it with newer technology.

It was the 90's which seems to have turned out the most unreliable
hardware IMHO. Some of those in the 80's wasn't too hot either. The
modern day hardware I have, I still see lasting over 25 years from now.
Although I don't think I'll still be using them for everyday use for
that long. But heck, you never know. As I am not that impressed with
Vista and Windows 7. And I probably won't be with Windows 8 and 9
either. ;-)

Asus EEE PC 702G4 ~ 2GB RAM ~ 16GB-SDHC
Xandros Linux (build 2007-10-19 13:03)

Re: laptop audio

Re: "Not to sound cynical but to me there is a very apparent reason.
Built that way they will, in most cases, work fine until the end of the
usual 1 year warranty period"

Having worked for multiple PC mfgrs., I can tell you that manufacturers
do not think that way.  It does not make for repeat customers; sure, it
gets the customer to buy a new PC, but if yours failed "too soon", it's
more likely to be replaced with another brand (and it also makes for bad
reliability reviews in "consumers reports" and other publications and

The nice thing about PCs, from a manufacturers perspective, is that they
are self-obsoleting, even without actual failure.  A 3 year old PC is
obsolete, even if it still works perfectly.  Add to that the OS upgrade
cycle (most people will not upgrade a PC from Windows X to Windows X+1,
they will replace the PC).  And, finally, a very real reality is that
most people will even replace a PC rather than just reinstall Windows.
All it takes is a bad or corrupted hard drive, a bad virus/malware
infection or even just the routine "registry bloat" in a PC more than 2
to 3 years old, and you have a customer in the market for a replacement
laptop.  However, if the previous one had poor hardware reliability ...
the replacement is more likely to be another brand.

As for older PCs, however, I make a small part-time business out of
refurbing and selling 1410/15 and 2410/15 laptops.  They are still very
usable, and I get $175 - $225 for them, on E-Bay and sometimes locally.

Re: laptop audio

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Barry Watzman ( wrote:
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***   I mispoke there. I should have typed "just specified". That is,
the components just meet the requirements or have less headroom than they
once did.

   As for the "not tested", I meant at the laptop end. Components are
tested and graded at the manufacturing plant, but it costs the laptop
manufacturers time and money to retest them. So I believe fewer do it,
instead trusting the manufacturers to properly grade them, and that the
components have not changed value between making and installing.

         Richard Bonner /

Re: laptop audio

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Put some of your favorite music on a USB flash drive and test them all....

After you're as dissatisfied as the rest of us, start shopping for an
external speaker/amp or portable headphones, the latter of which are a much
better solution.  

Here, waste $11.82 on these Sennheisers:
( product link shortened)
then try to find something that sounds better that is so comfortable and
will store in your little laptop case.  Sennheiser anything is fantastic,
even ones so cheap!

I don't think you'll find ANY laptop that sounds good, even ones costing
more because BOSE sold 'em a license to use their name.  "Poor" is my best
rating.  Netbooks are rated "Horrible!".  I don't even know why they bother
putting earbud drivers in little plastic tubes and calling them a

Good luck.


Re: laptop audio

Stewart ( wrote:
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***   I would think that any salesperson would allow customers to try
out audio if it means a sale.

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***   The likelihood today of getting decent sound in anything in that
price range is low. They make them as cheaply as possible. If you want to
get a pro model, they might sound better but will cost you considerably

   I think the suggestions here regarding external speakers may end up
being your best solution as far as sound goes, but would reduce
portability, and would extend the set-up time.  )-:

         Richard Bonner /

Re: laptop audio

The answers have certainly given me plenty to think about.  I shall take a
"tinny" cd along to the store and ask to hear it played.  If the sound is
not too bad then I think that I shall stick with the Acer.
I have speakers that I use with my present laptop but that is clumsy; they
are powered from mains;  I  see that some nowadays are powered from a usb
Thanks again.

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